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February's Featured Speaker: The Omnia Group

Carla Clyatt from The Omnia Group recently presented "Employee Recruiting Methods to Hire Right the First Time" at the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show last October.

Is Negativity Poisoning Your Workplace? 

Forget food poisoning. Has your workplace become contaminated with negative energy, people, and behavior?

If so, you’ve got a big problem that needs immediate attention.

A culture of negativity affects work relationships; your employees’ attitudes toward leadership, coworkers, and your customers; and ultimately productivity. A negative culture also leads to higher levels of unwanted turnover.  A negative culture drives out your best performers, who are all too happy to leave behind a workplace characterized by backbiting, backstabbing, distrust, and fear. Meanwhile, your low performers—who aren’t hindered by ambition or the need to posi-tively impact the organization—hunker down for the long haul. Not exactly the way you want it to go. 

What Causes a Culture of Negativity? 

Negativity contamination doesn’t just happen. A toxic brew of positive reinforcement (yes, you read that right!), nega-tive reinforcement, apathy, cowardice, helplessness, and fear creates the messy problem.

Positive reinforcement. Employees who exhibit bad behaviors are consistently rewarded with promotions, public ku-dos, and plum assignments.

Negative reinforcement. Employees who complain about bad behavior are shunned, labeled as “troublemakers,” ig-nored, demoted, or driven out of the organization.

Apathy. Those in authority don’t care or prefer remaining “neutral.” 

Cowardice. Those in authority fail to act fearing negative personal consequences.

Helplessness. Those troubled by the bad behavior and with the heart to intervene have no authority to challenge it.

Fear. Those troubled by the bad behavior remain silent for fear of losing favor or even their livelihood.

Freeze Out Negativity

The best way to stop negativity is to actively manage your culture. It is a strategic process requiring forethought, com-mitment, and determination. If you don’t want negativity spoiling your workplace, address negative behavior at every opportunity. 

Reward good behavior consistent with your core values. Put an immediate stop to bad behavior. Encourage honesty and openness by welcoming tough questions and criticisms from all levels of staff. Hold bullies accountable. 

Don’t hesitate to make changes when changes are needed. For example, if someone is a great chef but a lousy man-ager of people, remove the people responsibilities.

Finally, don’t entertain gossip. Many leaders actually deal in gossip and favor company snitches who regularly gift them with pinches of dirt here and there. Such leaders often believe these transactions keep them in the know, but most of this “knowledge” has little value, especially considering its true cost. Healthy organizations don’t encourage gossip and favoritism; they encourage information exchange through honest dialogue. 

Banish Negativity for Good

If your company is gripped in the jowls of negativity and looking for release, senior leadership must first look in the mir-ror. 

Negative cultures don’t occur by accident. For real change, senior leadership has to get in front of the problem. Make it clear what the company stands for and how those beliefs will be enforced. 

Of course, talk is merely talk until the standard is challenged. At that point, leadership has the chance to gain trust and credibility by doing the hard but right thing.


More about The Omnia Group:
A behavioral assessment and employment consulting firm located in Tampa, FL, the Omnia Group helps clients worldwide avoid bad hires, manage more effectively and retain top talent with remarkable results. 




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